57 Children’s Book Publishers that Accept Direct Submissions — No Agent Required

Written by Emily Harstone

All of the publishers on this list publish children’s books. Some just publish picture books, some publish only middle-grade fiction, and some publish a wide variety of genres aimed at adults as well. Some are looking for educational work, others are open to anything. A number of these publishers are large and established. Others are small and just starting out.

The majority are currently open to submissions, but not all of them are. In fact more than usual are closed to submissions because of COVID-19 this year, but many do plan to reopen in the fall.

For this article, we have written a brief review of every publisher, focusing on the essentials. However, if you click on the heading with their name you will be able to read the full review of the company or access the company webpage. The publishers are listed in no particular order.

None of the publishers we review require agents or previous publications.

Page Street Publishing

Page Street Publishing is a publisher of full color, mostly hardcover, gift books, cookbooks, and craft-books. Most of them have an important visual component. They are distributed through Macmillan in every country but Canada (where they have a different distributor). They publish around sixty titles a year. Page Street Publishing has also started to focus on publishing children’s and young adult books.

Flying Eye

Nobrow Press is a respected publisher of graphic novels and Flying Eye is their children’s book imprint. Flying Eye publishes both fiction and nonfiction picture books. Nobrow Press and Flying Eye are both different from what we normally review because they are looking for either an author/illustrator or an already formed author-illustrator pair with a book to pitch. They do seem to make exceptions, but for the most part they are not interested in matching illustrators with authors.

Future House Publishing

Future House Publishing is an imprint of Familius press, which in turn is an imprint of Workman. Future House focuses on publishing “adult science fiction and fantasy, as well as middle grade adventure books that embrace community, liberty, and family”. All of the work is clean, free of excessive violence. You can get a feel for what they publish here.

Lavine Querido Arthur A. Levine Books was an imprint of Scholastic Inc. that was founded in 1996 and as of 2019 they parted ways with Scholastic and since 2019 they have been Lavine Querido. They publish hardcover literary fiction and nonfiction for children and teenagers (and discerning adults). They have published many award winning and nominated books, as well as a number of very well known and respected authors.

Allen & Unwin

Allen & Unwin is a large independent Australian Press that is open to submissions on a wide range of topics. They have won a number of Australian publisher awards. They accept based on pitches, and have a system known as the “Friday Pitch” which ensures that at least one editor reviews each unsolicited pitch.

Ulysses Press

Ulysses Press is an independent publisher that has been around for almost a decade. They focus on publishing nonfiction books aimed at niche markets.  It is a good idea to go through their catalog before submitting to see if your work is a good fit for their press.

Sleeping Bear Press

Sleeping Bear Press is a well regarded publisher of board books, picture books, middle grade readers, and young adult fiction. They offer advances to some authors. They have good regional distribution in the Midwest and ok distribution in North America. Their books have won a wide variety of awards, all of them are listed here.

The O’Brien Press

The O’Brien Press is an established and respected publisher that is based in Ireland. They favor Irish voices, but are open to international submissions. They publish nonfiction for adults, and fiction and nonfiction for children.

Gibbs Smith

Gibbs Smith is an established publisher with good distribution and a focus on cook books, interior design and architecture books, and board books for children. They have published a number of bestsellers, including a board book version of Pride & Prejudice.

Pelican Publishing Company

Pelican Publishing Company is a publisher based out of New Orleans. They have been around for the a long time and they published William Faulkner’s first trade paperback book. They have a back list of over 2,500 titles. They publish between 40 to 70 new titles yearly. They focus on publishing art/architecture books, cooking/cookbooks, motivational, popular history (especially Louisiana/regional), children’s books (illustrated and otherwise), and social commentary. They also add that “We will consider almost any well-written work by an author who understands promotion.”

Pan Macmillan Australia

Pan Macmillan Australia is open to direct submissions. They are the Australian imprint of Macmillan, one of the big five publishers. This is the only way to submit to Macmillan directly. They have excellent distribution in Australia. They publish commercial fiction including women’s fiction, romance, thriller, crime, historical, humor, paranormal, fantasy, as well as literary fiction and nonfiction, children’s and young adult books, and commercial nonfiction ranging from memoir to diet.

Propertius Press

Propertius Press is a small non-profit press located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. They have been around since 2014 and have a large staff listed but everyone appears to be mostly part-time. They publish paperbacks and electronic books. They will consider all genres children’s stories, young adult, satire, mystery, historical fiction, thrillers, humor, philosophy, and educational works. Keep in mind that they are currently open to just some of these genres.

Penny Candy Books

Penny Candy Books is a publishing company focused on children’s picture books that was founded in 2015 by two poets who met in graduate school. It is a newer company but they seem off to a good start with interviews in various established publications. most to positive reviews by places like Kirkus. Their plan from here on out is to publish 5 to 8 books a year.

Gill Books

Gill Books is one of Ireland’s leading publishers of content in terms of both the Primary and Secondary schools market, but they also publish nonfiction for adults. They accept proposals for adult nonfiction and children’s books.

Flashlight Books

Flashlight is an award-winning publisher of illustrated children’s books. They publish books aimed at 4- to 8-year-olds. They only publish 2 to 4 books every year, so they are very selective. The books they publish are beautifully illustrated. They also have good distribution internationally and nationally. The theme of the book must be universal, and the book should focus on family and/or social situations.

Head of Zeus

Head of Zeus is a UK-based print publisher that was founded in early 2012. They publish a wide variety of work including nonfiction, literary fiction, general and genre fiction. They have a number of imprints and have good distribution in the UK. They publish children’s books, but only open to submissions sporadically.

Laurence King

Founded in 1991 in London, Laurence King focuses on publishing books and gifts on the creative arts. They have international distribution and recognition. They are open to proposals for books or gift products for adults, students and children. They focus particularly on the following areas: art and design, architecture, fashion and beauty, film, photography, practical art including painting and drawing, music and popular culture, nature and popular science.

Thames & Hudson

Thames & Hudson was founded in 1949 by Walter and Eva Neurath. Their goal was to create a ‘museum without walls’ and it is named after the rivers flowing through London and New York. They have over 2,000 titles in print. They publish high-quality books in the following categories: the arts (fine, applied, decorative, performing), architecture, design, photography, fashion, film and music, archaeology, history, popular culture and children’s books. Their head offices are in London.

Brother Mockingbird
Brother Mockingbird Publishing is a small independent press committed to discovering writers from the American South, but they are also open to good fiction, regardless of where the author is based.

Maverick Children’s Books
Maverick Children’s Books is a UK-based publisher of children’s books. Their books generally have wonderful covers and illustrations, and are quirky. They publish a variety of books for children. You can learn more about the team behind Maverick here.

Barefoot Books

This Canadian publisher of thoughtful and well-illustrated Children’s book is open to unrepresented submissions from authors and illustrators on a rotating basis. They focus on publishing diverse, inclusive, board books and picture books for ages 0–12. At the time of updating they are closed to direct submissions but do plan to reopen.

Cardinal Rule Books

A respected children’s picture book publisher that is only open to submissions during certain times of year. Their next submission period ended is in early 2022. The work they publish hope to empower children by telling meaningful stories aimed at 4-11 year olds. The work they publish is realistic fiction, which they describe as “a genre made up of stories that could happen in our world and society.”

Artisan
Artisan focuses on publishing visual-heavy nonfiction books. The visuals themselves vary between photography, illustration, or graphic design, but the idea is that these books communicate ideas and lessons because of their strong visual components.

Bedazzled Ink

They are a small press that focuses on publishing women and women identifying authors. The books they publish on female protagonists and the female perspective.

AM Ink

AM Ink is a Western Massachusetts based press that publishes quality Biographies, Children’s Books, Novels and Short Story Collections.  They’ve published more than sixty titles, including bestsellers. They have also as sold television rights, and had movies made from their books.

Princeton Architectural Press

Princeton Architectural Press is a small press that focuses on publishing books on architecture, design, photography, landscape, and visual culture. They also publish beautiful stationary and children’s books. They are based in New York. In 2009 they were bought by McEvoy Group. They are now a sister company to Chronicle Books.

Shadow Mountain
Shadow Mountain is an imprint of Deseret Book.  Both publishers are Mormon, but  Deseret Book focuses more on producing faith-based content. Shadow Mountain publishes primarily fiction and they have published a number of New York Times bestselling books. Because the company is Mormon run, books have to be approved by in-house censors in order to be published. They are very firm about publishing “clean books only”. However the authors need not be Mormon.

Text Publishing

Text Publishing in an Australian press that has published a wide variety of bestsellers. They have won the small publisher of the year award three times. You can get a feel for what they publish here. One of their biggest hits in recent years is the internationally bestselling novel The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion (the first in a series of Rosie novels). They don’t publish picture books or early readers. They do publish middle grade readers and books aimed at young adults.

Familius

Familius is a newer publisher, established in the last few years, but the head editor is established and has a good track record of working at other publishing companies.

duopress 

duopress is a publisher of innovative nonfiction books and gift books. They publish a large variety of non-traditionally formatted books for children, including board books that fold out, flash cards, and sticker books. They also publish more traditional books for children, including local books (such as Portland Baby). Most of what they publish is aimed at the very young (2 and under). they are a part of the Workman Group

Nosy Crow

Nosy Crow is a UK-based publisher of children’s books and apps aimed at children. They accept international submissions from all over, but everyone outside of the UK must submit via email (which is their preferred method of submission). They have wide distribution within the UK. The books they published are aimed at children up to the age of 14, although the bulk of what they publish is for children under the age of 12. The young adult books that they do publish are not issue-based, and should not involve drugs, sex, or violence. Most of the apps they publish are aimed at kids between the ages of 2 to 7.

Quirk Books

This Philadelphia-based press publishes just 25 books a year in a whole range of genres, from children’s books to nonfiction to science fiction. Unlike most publishers that tackle a large range of topics, Quirk books has a clear marketing plan and to a certain degree their books have a cohesive feel, because they all are quirky.

Free Spirit Publishing

Free Spirit Publishing is an established publisher with good distribution. They publish primarily nonfiction, mostly curriculum based, where they have a number of niche focuses.

They do publish fiction but only in the form of board books (aimed at infants to 4-year-olds) and picture books (for ages 4 to 8) that focus on social skills and getting along, early learning, character education, self-esteem, and other topics related to positive early childhood development.

Turner Books

Turner publishes books in a wide range of categories and formats — fiction and nonfiction. They publish mainly in print but have electronic options as well. They are a major independent publishing house that has a number of imprints. They publish children’s books under their imprint Ramesy & Todd.

Tilbury House

Tilbury House publishes adult books too (only nonfiction), but they mainly focus on publishing children’s books with a social message. Most focus on the environment, cultural diversity, nature, and social justice. They have published a number of award-winning  books that are greatly respected. They focus on getting these books into schools. The books they publish are for children between the ages of 7 to 12.

The Quarto Publishing Group

The Quarto Publishing Group is an international publishing house known for its illustrated books. They publish most of their work through a number of niche imprints, each with their own focus. All of their US imprints are distributed by Hachette.

Immedium

Immedium was founded in 2004 and is led by experienced professionals, who have written critically acclaimed books, marketed print and digital media, and sold #1 nationwide best-sellers. Aquanauts, a series of books they published, was turned into a successful TV show for children.

Chronicle Books

Chronicle Books is a reputable publishing house that publishes many wonderful books, however for the sake of this list, I am just focusing on their children’s line. They have published a number of books that have been nominated for the Caldecott, the most prestigious children’s book award. They publish a large number of children’s books every year and have excellent distributors.

Paulist Press

Paulist Press is an established press that has been around for 150 years. Paulist Press publishes Christian books in a wide variety of sub-genres, including children’s books. They have excellent distribution and sales within that market.

ABDO Books

ABDO Books is a publisher that focuses exclusively on educational books for children 4 to 12 years old. They sell many books to schools and appear to be rather good at niche marketing.

August House

August House was established in 1978, originally it focused on publishing poetry but in the 80’s their focus switched to folklore and after that, to storytelling. They no longer publish poetry, instead they focus on publishing children’s books, although many of these are influenced by folklore. They currently publish children’s folktales, picture books, early-grade chapter books, and storytelling resource materials.

Kane Miller

Kane Miller is an award-winning publisher of educational children’s books. Their most famous book to date is the children’s classic Everyone Poops, the English translation of Minna Unchi, a Japanese children’s book written by Taro Gomi. They have good distribution, there books are widely available at libraries, and they generally do an excellent job.

Arsenal Pulp Press

Arsenal Pulp Press is a Canadian small press based out of Vancouver. They have won the Jim Douglas Publisher of the Year Award (from the Association of Book Publishers of British Columbia), and they have been a finalist for Small Press Publisher of the Year (awarded by the Canadian Booksellers Association) five times. They have good distribution in Canada and on the West Coast. I’ve seen a number of their books in stores in the Pacific Northwest. They also regularly host and promote events for their authors, and that is a good sign as well.

Arbordale Publishing

This children’s publisher focuses on science and math books that parents and children read together, meaning they offer family-focused rather than school- focused learning.

Dawn Publications

Dawn Publications is a boutique print press focused on publishing books connecting children and nature. They usually just publish six books a year. Their niche focus really seems to pay off; their books have gone on to win a wide variety of awards. Dawn was founded in 1979. The Our Mission Page, although a little tricky to find without a direct link, is well worth the read. They are now part of sourcebooks.

Sky Pony Press

Sky Pony Press is a division of Skyhorse Publishing. This division focuses on publishing work for children, and are also open to publishing young adult work as long as it intersects with other areas of interest for the publisher such as ecology, farm living, wilderness living, recycling, and other “green” topics. 

Dancing With Bear

Dancing with Bear is a print and e-book publisher that publishes exclusively Christian manuscripts. They publish books for adults and children.

Hohm Press

A small print publisher based out of Arizona, Hohm has been around for many years. They are a respected press that has published a number of well known authors. The publish a wide variety of genres, including poetry, nonfiction, and children’s books. They generally focus on eastern religion and spirituality. They are not interested in fiction or short story collections.

Eifrig Publishing

Eifrig Publishing is a small independent publishing company that focuses on publishing children’s books. They also publish family psychology books, some nonfiction for adults, and books on education. They publish some eBooks. Their motto is “good for our kids, good for our environment, and our good for our communities.”

Jolly Fish Press

Jolly Fish Press was started in 2012. They are based out of Provo, Utah. Jolly Fish has a major distributor and a large staff for a relatively new press. Their authors have won numerous awards. They publish commercial and literary fiction, historical, fantasy, sci-fi, mystery, humor, horror, thriller, middle grade, and young adult. They also publish motivational nonfiction, self-help, biography, and memoir. They are going through ownership changes at this time, so approach with caution

Holiday House

Holiday House is an established and reputable children’s book publisher. Holiday House has been around for over 75 years. They publish picture books as well as books aimed at children grades 1 to 3, grades 4 to 6, and grades 7 and up. They are based out of New York City. They have published many well known books and authors, including Kenneth Grahame. The books that they have published have won numerous respected awards and honors.

Charlesbridge

Charlesbridge publishes high quality books for children and young adults with the goal of creating lifelong readers and lifelong learners. In 2010 Charlesbridge acquired Imagine Publishing, which expanded what they were able to offer. They now have extensive audio offerings. They also publish adult nonfiction, cookbooks, and puzzle books.

Albert Whitman & Company

Albert Whitman & Company has been around since 1919. I grew up reading a series the best-known series that they have published The Boxcar Children. Over the past few years they have started to focus on publishing a larger number of books each year.

Sterling Publishing

Sterling Publishing is owned by Barnes and Noble. They also have a large crafting imprint named Lark. Sterling has been publishing books for over 60 years. They publish children’s books.

Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company

Founded in 1911 and located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company is an independent publisher of religious books. They have a large range, including academic books and reference works in theology, biblical studies, and religious history to popular titles in spirituality, social and cultural criticism, as well as literature and children’s books.

Bancroft Press

Bancroft Press is a small press that publishes a wide variety of work, both nonfiction and fiction. They publish memoirs and legal dramas and everything in between. They usually publish between 3-5 books a year, so while they are open to a wide range of work they actually publish very little.


Emily Harstone is the author of many popular books, including The Authors Publish Guide to Manuscript SubmissionsSubmit, Publish, Repeat, and The 2021 Guide to Manuscript Publishers.

Her course Manuscript Publisher For Novelists is currently open for enrollment. If you’re interested working directly with Emily, learn more about the course here.

She regularly teaches three acclaimed courses on writing and publishing at The Writer’s Workshop at Authors Publish. You can follow her on Facebook here.

 

 

 

 

 

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